I’ve always wanted to visit Japan. The history, the technology, the food, the cherry blossoms, the karaoke, the sake, the drunk businessmen, the opportunity to be whispered at by Bill Murray – it all just seems enchanting and exciting.
Except for Hello Kitty. She kind of shits me, and not just because I think she and Sophie use the same lip-liner.
Anyway, I love almost everything about Japan.
And now that I also know that if you dress like a whore you can win a competition, I’m totally applying for citizenship. Hand me a hot bottle and fry me some gyoza - It’s the ‘Shibuya Think I’m Sexy’ episode of Australia’s Next Top Model. Konichiwa, bitches.
• Now, I don’t really know the lay of the land in Tokyo, so I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure the modules spent a total of about fourteen hours there, and covered a six-block radius. Just arrived in Tokyo? Make your first touristy activity holding hands and crossing the road! A big night out in Tokyo? Walk up some stairs, write a wish on a piece of paper, and stick it on a tree! So hardcore, Ke$ha may just write a song about it.
• The girls are excited about the high level of luxury in their hotel, noting particularly that they were greeted with flowers and had a personal escort to their room. Yep. Flowers and people. Both pretty rare commodities in ol’ Japan.
Me Talky Proper And That
• Jessica is a little nervous about the trip to Japan, as she’s not overly familiar with the language or culture. To camera, she says “Alright – this is what I know about Japan”, and then does this:
|She knows they give brow jobs.|
|Chapter 5; Ferratio.|
Which is such a coincidence – I have that same book in English!
• When the scrags arrive in Japan, they’re stunned by the appearance of a fan club of sorts – excited by their presence, jumping up and down and taking endless photographs. Kelsey remarks that “It kind of felt like the Pussycat Dolls, like, getting off a plane”. Except, y’know – relevant. And discernable from hookers. Jess adds: “After we said goodbye to our groupies – sayonara – we jumped on a bus”. You jumped on a bus? YOU’RE JUST LIKE GODZILLA.
• Speaking of which, when the girls get off the bus and mingle amongst locals at a pedestrian crossing in Shibuya, Jess says “my worst nightmare came true, because I’m like Godzilla among these people”. Babe, Godzilla eats cities. You eat salad. Maybe.
A photo-shoot as a challenge? Japan is so WACKY.
• Our modules rock up to a traditional Japanese house and garden in Musashino and meet photographer Tomohisa Tobitsuka, because syllables are awesome. Also awesome? Editors making it look like Tomohisa Tobitsuka arrives via Star Trek transporter. It’s entirely unnecessary, yet indescribably amazing, just like cheeseburgers in a can.
• Tomohisa Tobitsuka (I just can’t type that enough, I tell ya) introduces himself in Japanese, including asking the girls to call him ‘Toby’. Jess says “He introduced himself, I think”. Hmmm. Every person you’ve met in the last nine weeks has started off by introducing themselves. Even the lint wedged into the far corner of my doona cover knows he was introducing himself. Happily, Toby has an interpreter and subtitles. Let. It. Begin.
• The challenge is all about handling a photo shoot in another language, and the theme is ‘traditional Japanese with a modern twist’. It starts off with Toby saying “Okay, ret’s shooting!”. I full stop. Love full stop. This full stop. Show exclamation mark.
• Kelsey, with conical hair, pink eyes and a po-mo-kimono, looks amazing. Her directions from Toby? “Move your face only”, and “Make your feet and the clothes look good”. Your pancreas can do whatever it likes, though.
• Sophie has a corset, a rag-doll skirt and a number of extra chrysanthemum heads. Toby asks her to pose like a Japanese lady, with “more like a modest feeling”, and she mentions that she doesn’t know how, perhaps because she guesses correctly that modesty doesn’t usually wear dresses with chains on them. And there’s that being-able-to-tell-the-difference-between-Japan-and-China thing. Then Toby makes my year by directing her to “look into the future”. Sophie says this is easy, because she used to attend a hippie school at which they hugged trees, and presumably ate a lot of mushrooms.
|I looked into the future, and I saw my boobs falling out.|
Jess, in a blue frock with a fan in her hair, looks stiff and nervous, and has trouble relaxing and understanding whatever the hell Toby is saying. He tries to relax her by getting rid of the interpreter, directing her to say “ha!” and asking her what she had for breakfast. She answers “Japanese food”, which is like Gandhi answering “air” to the same question or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like Anna Nicole Smith answering “Quaaludes”. If she wasn’t dead, obviously.
• Amanda has a gorgeous red kimono and a massive circle of hair, and looks positively MELTY, even after she actually starts melting in the hot room. Toby keeps asking her to “be like a flower”, which she has trouble with, insisting that she doesn’t know how to be like a flower. Babe, Sophie had to look into the future, and Jess had to say “ha”. SUCK IT UP AND BE A FRIGGING FLOWER. PS: I hope we can still be besties.
This weeks challenge would win a challenge to find the best challenge in the history of challenges ever.
• So apparently, “Kawaii” means “everything cute”.
• The scrags visit Kawaii Fashion TV, where a bunch of adorable midgets in fancy dress welcome them. YAY! The head midget, named Yu (whose surname I can only presume is ‘By Kotex’) reads from cue cards with the helpful subtitles: TODAY’S THEME FOR YOU IS A CHALLENGE WITH TOKYO KAWAII FASHION. EACH OF YOU WILL BE PAIRED UP WITH A KAWAII EXPERT AND SPEND THE WHOLE DAY CLOTHES SHOPPING AND HAVE YOUR MAKE UP DONE. Modelling is so hard, you guys. Sophie comments that “When we found out, we were just over the moon, cause it’s something that you would never do”. Shopping and having your make-up done? Japanese culture is so weird, you guys. YAY!
• Each girl is given a different kind of fashion subculture to emulate (YAY!), and are then pitted against each other in a catwalk show judged by fashion students. Jessica, with midget Hikari, will represent ‘school girl uniform fashion’. She says to camera that we don’t really have that kind of thing in Australia, because “Once you leave school, that’s pretty much it for the uniforms”. Oh yeah? Tell that to the contestants who have been eliminated already.
Jess’s expert is concerned about her size. She doesn’t think she’s fat. She just thinks her head is way, way too far from the ground.
After eliminating any clothing items that appear to be ‘too genius’, Jess ends up looking exactly like a school girl. Or maybe a Surry Hills hipster. I just can’t tell the difference between those crazy kids!
• Amanda will be representing ‘Japanese Gal Fashion’, ably assisted by Yunkoro. Yunkoro doesn’t know what the fuck that is, either. We soon find out, though. It means dressing up like a whore. PS: GIVE ME THOSE BOOTS.
• Sophie is ‘fairy fashion’, assisted by Yu By Kotex. After trying on “heaps of poofy skirts”, she ends up with plaits, legwarmers, a frilly skirt, and soft toys stapled all over her body and head. I’ll wait while you read that sentence again, and perhaps get it bronzed.
• Kelsey, assisted by midget Misako, will be representing ‘Lolita fashion’. Trust me on this – it’s awesome. Oh, it’s so awesome. They visit a shop called Baby The Stars Shine Bright, which Kelsey describes as “walking into a doll’s wardrobe”. I agree, as long as your dolls are Chucky and Bride of Chucky. Creeps me out, mama. She tries on every pink, high-collared, frilly dress in the world, but Misako has trouble deciding whether to top it all with bunny ears or Mary-of-Had-A-Little-Lamb fame’s lacy bonnet. She finally decides on the bunny ears, and a relieved Kelsey comments “If I’d got that bonnet, I would’ve felt like a bit of a fool”.
|Because not looking like a fool is so hot right now.|
• The modules go back to the studio for hair and make-up, and try to keep straight faces when they see each other in all their wacky finery. Kelsey says, responsibly, “We couldn’t really laugh, because we didn’t want to be offensive.
|Being inoffensive: You're doing it wrong.|
• After a quick bout of catwalk training including the glorious phrase “please jump like a rabbit at some point”, the girls flounce down the runway fuelled by Ritalin and the knowledge that it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m still working out how to get urine and tears out of my couch cushions. Whilst the fashion students are voting, Yu By Kotex is subtitled: WE ARE WAITING FOR THE ELECTION RESULTS AND MY HEART IS COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH, and HOPEFULLY SOPHIE WILL WIN SO WE CAN HUG EACH OTHER. Careful, Yu By Kotex. You’re only little. She could totally swallow you whole.
• Amanda wins the challenge, because even dressed as a five dollar prostitute, the awesome shines like a beacon. Her prize is the bonnet. All the midgets cry when they have to say goodbye to the girls. I love this show.
• Can we talk about Sophie for a second? It took me a long, long time to warm to this girl. I don’t know if I was originally put off by her flesh-coloured mouth, her endless array of dresses with metal on them, her resin-coated shell-hair, or her inability to pronounce the letter ‘L’, but I’m going to say it – I kind of love her. And the reasons are these.
FLESHMOUTH – A TRIBUTE
Reason 1: Her head is consistently and utterly wrong.
|No hat will help your hair. Not even Jake Elwood's.|
|Her dentist can give her a check-up from an adjacent suburb.|
Reason 3: She doesn’t really fit in, but still manages to rock stuff, just like Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing.
|I carried a watermelon.|
Reason 4: All of her clothing has metal on it. All of it.
|When Sophie dies, if she's buried with all her favourite dresses, the world will tilt.|
Reason 5: This.
|What the how.|
The main thing you need to know about this week’s photo shoot is that Chest Smith is the photographer, and it’s humid enough for him to be wearing a singlet over his sweaty mounds.
• When Chest arrives at the scrags’ hotel, he tells them that they’ll be doing an avant-garde fashion shoot in the middle of Tokyo, and that they have to choose whether they wear the clothes, or the clothes wear them. It’s a pretty important decision, I think. Each shot is a long exposure, so the girls have to stay absolutely still, even staggering under the weight of the amazeballs outfits that Jason the stylist chooses for them.
• Sophie has high hair thanks to a pair of coiffure chopsticks, a black fur collar, and two thirds of her bazonks exposed (she can see into the future!). She looks incredible, although Chest says “she got confused with the idea of holding the pose” (because that shit is totally like calculus, man), and Jason says “We were on a pedestrian crossing, and she was pushing a little bit of a pedestrian pose” (because ZING!).
• Kelsey’s hair is piled atop her short head, and she wears a black dress with a massive fur collar. She kicks absolute arse. In a good way.
• Jess has to stand on top of a van in a dress I absolutely need to own in the next five minutes or I will die. She has trouble staying still, and doesn’t rock it as hard as she ought. She says to camera “If I don’t make it through to the top three, I’m gonna kill Jez”. Please reserve his pectorals for their rightful taxidermic place on my mantelpiece.
• Amanda has a fauxhawk with a white fur collar, an excellent attitude, and the gushing praise of photographer and stylist. Even though the resulting photo isn’t the pinnacle of her career so far, I still find it difficult to express how I feel about this girl. So I’m going to leave it to Barry Manilow. My platonic non-gay love for you wears a sequinned vest and an electric blue body shirt. Yes, it does.
• After the shoot, the girls decide to spend their last few hours in Tokyo visiting a wishing tree, which is actually quite emotional and gorgeous – they write wishes on pieces of paper and pin them to trees as part of the annual Tanabata festival. Jess tears up as she wishes for her family’s health, and Sophie claims that the ritual touched her heart. It’s pure. It’s calm. It’s dignified. It’s not interesting. I know it should be, but I’m momentarily distracted by the original settings on my phone.
Presumably again using the Star Trek transporter, the modules are suddenly back in the Sydney Eliminarium, all dressed as four year olds who get drunk and raid the dress-up box.
Saint Sarah, who only just makes it in time after a gig as guest speaker at the International See The Future Seminar, says “Konichiwa” and then introduces the judges. Guest judge is Doll Wright from Elite New York, Shiny Alex Perry clearly enjoyed last week’s shirt and tie so much that he’s had them glued on (like his sunglasses, years ago), Chest Smith can wear whatever he likes because he’s already been seen sweaty in a singlet, and Charlotte Dawson’s forehead is expecting to graduate from high school any day now.
Saint Sarah enunciates through the prizes, which I think this year include a sprig of parsley and a single ice skate, and then, together with the judges, gets on with the weekly task of shattering dreams. Photos are pored over and deliberation occurs, with more than enough nuggets of excellence to keep my sushi fresh:
• Charlotte, as impressed as everybody with Chest’s photographs, calls him a good boy and strokes his arm. GET OUT OF MY SUBCONSCIOUS, DAWSON.
• About Jess’s lesson photo, Charlotte comments “I just think your face is dead”. Hello, pot? Phone call for you. It’s the kettle.
• Sophie is wearing a tutu. Your argument is invalid.
• Of Sophie’s photos, Saint Sarah says “Oh my god. Is this the Avon lady Lego-head we had in the first episode?”. It’s episode NINE, Saint Sarah. WELCOME TO ZING-TOWN. Jez says “Lose the stiffness, and you’ll go all the way”. Charlotte adds “Even in that stupid outfit”. GET OUT OF MY SUBCONSCIOUS, DAWSON.
• Amanda’s photo isn’t popular, and Charlotte suggest that she “looks like a bloated baby swathed in fur”. Despite us all knowing exactly what that looks like, Shiny Alex Perry suggests that she’s being a bit harsh. When Perry suggests you’ve crossed a line, you’ve probably pretty much crossed a line.
• Dawson dubs Kelsey an ‘S.S.S.’, which apparently stands for “Sexy, Sultry, Shortass”. I dub Dawson an ‘S.P’, which stands for “Sarcastic Plastic”.
The girls file back in, and Saint Sarah calls out a whole two names until only Jess and Amanda remain. Jess is told that her photo is incredible, but that she may not be right for the market at the moment. Amanda learns that she had a great week, but a crap photo.
Two nanoseconds pass, and Jess is pushed off the cliff. Kersplash!
Bye, Jess. I’ll sincerely miss you. Make sure you remember to come over to my house for tequila shots and unnecessary sarcasm on your way out! No, seriously. Thursday good for you?
Next week, there's a fancy do, a magazine shoot, and we find out who the final two are. Lah-di-dah. Harpers Bazaar. One step closer to winning a car.